I think the first Committee took a decision, whether by Standing Orders or by its own volition, that the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, as he then was, who was in charge of fisheries had the right of audience for Deputy Dillon who was Minister for Fisheries. He and the other officials went through the Bill section by section. We queried the permanent officials in relation to whether the consolidation was a true consolidation. In fact, I can remember that we had a discussion lasting two days regarding gins and traps and that it went on for ages.
I think the second Committee agreed at its first meeting to take as read all the sections which the first Committee had already dealt with. The last Committee did the same thing. My recollection is that there were 49 sittings of those Committees, each of them lasting for about three hours. That was not as big a Bill as this one. Perhaps some of the language in the Bill was much older because the Bills were long before 1918. I think during the course of that Bill there were amendments to the law and those amendments to the law were incorporated in the consolidating measure. I cannot remember whether they were actually incorporated during the progress, so to speak, of one Committee or whether a new Committee took them into account.
This is the second time this Bill has appeared. I think the first Bill appeared about 15 months ago and it of course had not got the Finance Act, 1965. This one has it. My recollection of the other Committees is that after the Committee produced the amendments, the Attorney General's certificate was obtained as the last act, so to speak. At that very last date, the law was as set out in the Bill. Anybody would be optimistic if he thought that any Special Committee would be able to deal with this consolidated measure before the 1966 Finance Act was enacted. Much though I dislike it, the Minister must have a 1966 Finance Act and I hope for his sake he gets his 1966 Act before this is dealt with by the Standing Committee because if it is done carefully, it will take an awfully long time.